MUMBAI: The benchmark Sensex remained range-bound in a choppy trade today, but rose for the third session by edging up over 6 points as investors preferred to stay light ahead of the January expiry in the derivatives segment tomorrow amid a mixed trend overseas.
Caution prevailed on sustained outflows by foreign funds and a mixed trend in global markets ahead of the outcome of the US Fed's two-day policy meet later in the day, brokers said.
Moreover, a weaker rupee, which depreciated 24 paise to 68.07 against the dollar (intra-day), weighed on sentiment.
The 30-share index, which had gained 523.74 points in the previous two sessions, edged higher by 6.44 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 24,492.39. The gauge had surged nearly 160 points to touch the day's high of 24,645.70 and a low of 24,458.13, intra-day.
The broader NSE Nifty after shuttling between 7,477.90 and 7,419.70 finally settled higher by 1.60 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 7,437.75.
Trading sentiment, which remained upbeat at the outset in tandem with a firming trend at other Asian bourses and overnight gains in the US on the back of a rally in crude oil, turned somewhat weak as participants rushed to lock in gains ahead of tomorrow's monthly expiry, which wiped off the gains. Foreign portfolio investors net sold shares worth Rs 91.15 crore on Monday, as per provisional data from stock exchanges. Stock Exchanges were closed yesterday for the Republic Day.
Support came from gains in NTPC, Dr Reddy's, Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Wipro, ITC Ltd, SBI, GAIL, TCS, Maruti Suzuki, ICICI Bank and Infosys.
However, BHEL, Asian Paints, Hindustan Unilever, Hero MotoCorp, Adani Ports, Axis Bank and Bajaj Auto succumbed to profit-booking towards the fag end.
Globally, a mixed closing at other Asian markets and Europe deepened the monthly rout as disappointing earnings reports reignited investor concerns about global growth prospects. Oil resumed its downward trend, which too dampened mood.
Among BSE sectoral indices, power gained the most by rising 1.61 per cent, followed by realty (1.08 per cent), infrastructure (0.74 per cent), healthcare (0.69 per cent), PSU (0.68 per cent) and metal (0.34 per cent).
On the other hand, broader markets outperformed as investors widened their positions, with the small-cap index rising 0.57 per cent and mid-cap index 0.30 per cent.